Tarzan, the racist man

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Ramaraksha

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As a child I used to read Tarzan books, but even though i am now in my 50's I still remember some racist incidents in these books. Now living in India, I find it disturbing that some newspapers are featuring his comics. I know that the author - Edgar Rice Burroughs - is dead now. But why contribute to his estate? If you feel similarly as I do, and if you see your local newspaper featuring these comics, please ask them to stop.

2 incidents:

1. This was from the early Tarzan books - maybe the very first one. Tarzan had hunted all day but found nothing. Now very hungry, he comes upon a native village. The villagers have made a big killing and are eating and drinking. Tarzan waits, hoping that they will all fall asleep so that he can get down and steal some food. One by one, the villagers fall asleep. All but one. One old man does not stop. He keeps eating and drinking. Unable to wait any longer, Tarzan silently drops behind the old man, grabs the old man’s throat and squeezes him to death! He then dumps the body in the pot holding the food, helps himself and goes away smiling to himself!

I couldn’t but think to myself – this old man was a husband, a father, a brother, maybe even a grandfather. How would the little child feel when she wakes up to see the gruesome scene? But then his crime was that he was a darkie, wasn’t he? Would Burroughs write about Tarzan dropping into a white man’s backyard and killing an old white man? Not a chance. Sadly to this man sitting in England and making up stories about people and a continent of which he knew nothing, a black man’s life was worthless.

2. The second was some story about some lost city of Treasure. At the end of the story, Tarzan comes upon the evil white men who are on their way to ransack the city of treasure, led there by native guides. From up above Tarzan asks the native guides to go away. Although frightened they press on. Suddenly one of the natives drops, an arrow shot thru his leg. Of course, Burroughs really doesn’t tell us much about what happens to him after that, who cares right? It’s just a darkie! But we can imagine – without proper medical help, the man could die or lose his leg, to be lame forever.

Well, the natives press on. And this time a second native is struck – but he pays a higher price – an arrow shot thru his chest! Again I can’t but think how cheap these peoples’ lives are. Frightened now, the natives leave the white men alone. Guess what happens to the white men? Tarzan takes them to the authorities – to be properly tried and sentenced in a court of law! Wow! What justice! The evil white men get to argue their case in front of a judge, while the poor natives get Burrough’s instant justice!
 
I used to read Tarzan comics as a Child and I read one book cant remember which one,

I guess the author was a product of his time when such attitudes where common place.
 
As a child I used to read Tarzan books, but even though i am now in my 50's I still remember some racist incidents in these books...

Tarzan was raised by apes.

He was wild.

Animals kill.

The next sentence I type should contain only one word.

Damn.
 
How nice and forgiving. I wonder if the terrorists of 9/11 were simply lost young men? Anyway, I do hope that if your local newspapers is reprinting these comics, you would do something about it.
 
Are there no racist comments in the bible? The vedas? The upanishads? Do you feel the same indignation to all these?

How about the caste system? Or the constitution of the United States?

We all have a past.
 
I think you are being ridiculous... seeing racism in these examples is only possible if you are determined to do so. Even the most liberal Victorians were by default racist by today's standards. As a Hindu, and a member of a faith where caste divisions are still endemeic, I think you should worry about that before before over anal-ysing some tired old fiction.
 
Ramaraksha, can you think of any fiction where killing without thought or question of those killed isn't the norm?

Anyone remember Arnie in Commando? What was the body count per second in that?

As for the incidents you describe - none come across as racist, which is quite surprising as I'm sure literature from that era would be quite riddled with it.
 
Ramaraksha, can you think of any fiction where killing without thought or question of those killed isn't the norm?

He also forgets the art of story telling. Tarzan has to be portrayed as a savage or it makes his conversion back to civilization far less compelling. What drama is there if Jane is snatched by a sensitive modern man?
 
I wonder if you're an idiot because you don't know the difference between fiction and real life.
why???

It is said that every encounter between to people you either raise them in consciousness, assist in bringing their spirit and faith in humankind up or down.

Shouldn't we consider what we are creating of this world with our words?

(please note I am aware I should listen to what I am saying)
 
Wil, I asked that rather rude question because of this...



When one loses the ability to distinguish between artistic expression and mass murder, then one has veered into the idiotic.

C'est tout.


Entirely agree...... yet Wil does have a point too. Are we being helpful, welcoming, encouraging when we stomp on a post by someone with a different cultural meme, educational foundation or who may just be young and a tad naive? I think we both have a tendency to short change on tact so I'm not slamming you.....just asking the question...
 
Wil, I asked that rather rude question because of this...
Ramaraksha said:
How nice and forgiving. I wonder if the terrorists of 9/11 were simply lost young men?


When one loses the ability to distinguish between artistic expression and mass murder, then one has veered into the idiotic.

C'est tout.
But the absolute fact of the matter is the terrorists of 911 were lost young men whose brains had been taken advantage of by a mass murderer.
 
But the absolute fact of the matter is the terrorists of 911 were lost young men whose brains had been taken advantage of by a mass murderer.
Really !! My take is that it was a callous and well executed plan by a few of your own corporate elite to steal trillions of dollars. Half of these young men so accused are still alive....now aint that curious.
 
Really !! My take is that it was a callous and well executed plan by a few of your own corporate elite to steal trillions of dollars. Half of these young men so accused are still alive....now aint that curious.
I'll bite, which of these are still alive??

911_hijackers.jpg
 
But the absolute fact of the matter is the terrorists of 911 were lost young men whose brains had been taken advantage of by a mass murderer.

Wil, my quibble is that somehow these were just a bunch of nice young men brainwashed by an evil mastermind. Everyone who participated in 9/11 bears personal responsibility for their actions.

What this has to do with Tarzan is beyond me. But I've hijacked (pun intended) a thread or two in my time... so it's cool.
 
Are we being helpful, welcoming, encouraging when we stomp on a post by someone with a different cultural meme, educational foundation or who may just be young and a tad naive?

Tao, my quibble with you're point is that I stuck to the subject of Tarzan, while the OP immediately turned to a personal attack, questioning my compassion and implicating that I was so unfeeling that I wasn't even moved by 9/11.

Sorry, but IMHO, as young or naive or meme-challenged as the OP may be, that kind of response doesn't warrant any more helpful, welcoming encouragement than I gave him/her.
 
Tao, my quibble with you're point is that I stuck to the subject of Tarzan, while the OP immediately turned to a personal attack, questioning my compassion and implicating that I was so unfeeling that I wasn't even moved by 9/11.

Sorry, but IMHO, as young or naive or meme-challenged as the OP may be, that kind of response doesn't warrant any more helpful, welcoming encouragement than I gave him/her.
You perceived a personal attack so you called him an idiot, and then you expected welcoming encouragement for your remark....interesting.

But the question is what are you creating with your response?

Could you possibly be creating another pissed off individual ripe for the terrorists to take advantage of?

It doesn't warrant welcoming encouragement....judge, jury, and executioner are we? But it does deserve a tirade of your own?

I love Tich Nhat Hanh's analogy...if your rose isn't blooming, do you yell at it, beat on it, or do you provide it with the care, nutrients and water to grow healthy?

Ghandi said, 'Be the change you want to see in the world.' What world do you wish to create by lambasting everyone that stumbles?

This is definitely a road I need to work on, I'd love to have some partners in crime, how about you, Tao, and Ramaraksha, I think we could all benefit by trying to uplift, encourage and educate, rather than denigrate and discourage? We could start here in this forum, and then move onto our life in general... Gosh we could shock some folks could we not?
 
I think you are being ridiculous... seeing racism in these examples is only possible if you are determined to do so. Even the most liberal Victorians were by default racist by today's standards. As a Hindu, and a member of a faith where caste divisions are still endemeic, I think you should worry about that before before over anal-ysing some tired old fiction.

You don't see racism in these examples? That is disgusting, I have to say.
You yourself are admitting that they were racists. Just because they were of a different time, is no excuse not to treat people humanely.

And please don't bring other issues into this. My faith does not teach caste divisions, that's like saying christianity teaches their priests to become pedophiles.
 
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